My week with Android is over. I am back to my iPhone. I dropped a call on the way in to work. Good to be back.
I truly believe that Apple has the better product right now. The hardware is smaller, lighter, and more attractive. The software is more intuitive, better polished and better looking.
Nevertheless, Android is gaining momentum. Here are the things that apple must do to address some of the advantages of Android.
- Solve the dropped call program in the US. I am putting this separately since there is some anecdotal evidence mounting that the problem is not purely related to ATT and that other ATT phones hold calls better.
- Offer the iPhone on Verizon. Verizon is the strongest carrier in the US. Nearly everyone I meet that owns an Android-based Verizon phone tells me they would have chosen an iPhone over an Android device had it been available.
- Include turn by turn navigation on the iPhone built in. This will require an enormous capital outlay to get permanent and unfettered access to the dataset needed. Navteq is owned by Nokia. So that is pretty much out of the question for Apple. Tele Atlas is owned by Tom Tom. Tom Tom’s market cap is only (Euros) 1.09B. Apple should just buy them and include as much of their tech as possible in iPhones. Mapping and navigation are core to smart phones and Apple needs to remove the dependency on Google.
- Better integrate voice-to-text on the iPhone. Being able to hit the microphone button in all contexts (SMS, email) and include a sentence by voice is very convenient on the Droid X. Apple could possibly license the tech from Nuance, or buy Nuance for stock. Voice is a critical part of the mobile experience.
- Provide Mobile Me (email, contacts, calendar) for free for Apple customers. One of the best things about the Android experience is the tight support between Gmail and Android. There are built in Calendar and Gmail apps for Android that integrate better with Google’s services than Apple’s Mail and Calendar program do. Phanfare uses Google Apps and I will miss the built in apps.
- Provide a 3G mobile hot-spot for the iPhone. Can cost extra. I wound up trying Android because I continued to maintain an Verizon MiFi for business when I switched from ATT to the iPhone. When the Droid X started shipping with the mobile hot spot, I realized that for maybe $20/month more, I could move service from the MiFi to the Droid X and have not only a mobile hot spot when traveling but also a verizon phone for calling. I realize the mobile hotspot will kill the battery. That’s ok.
If Apple addresses these issues, I believe that Android momentum will stall. Long run, Android may still win with their multi-vendor low-cost approach. But it will take a lot longer if Apple takes care of these items.